An Accurate Map of the United States of America according to the Treaty of Paris of 1783
By: John Russell
Date: 1794 (published) London
Dimensions: 14.75 x 18.5 inches (37.5 x 47 cm)
An exceptionally detailed map of the United States prior to its boundaries extending to west of the Mississippi River. The map, drawn by John Russell, was issued in Witherbotham's important account of the nascent country and later appeared in John Reid's "American Atlas."
America's New International Borders
The work presents the most up-to-date cartographic knowledge pertaining to the recently expanded territory of the United States, which was the result of the Revolutionary War. Particular attention is paid to these far reaches of the country according to the 1783 Treaty of Paris. In the south, Georgia, which extends from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River is the southern-most extent of the country as Florida, which is divided into east and west is still under Spanish claim. Just off the eastern seaboard, we find the "Twenty Leagues Line," which divides American waters from International waters.
The northern border of Maine is rather vague and would be under dispute for many years to come, as would the rest of that northern border which runs through the waters of the Great Lakes. The Mississippi River would serve at the western-most extent of the United States until Thomas Jefferson would purchase the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon Bonaparte in 1803, nearly doubling the size of the country and sparking the some of the earliest notions of Manifest Destiny that would drive American settlement into the Western Frontier.
The Northwest Territory and Early Land Claims West of the Allegany Mountains
The map offers a wonderful view of the political situation of the Northwest Territory at the turn of the 19th century. The Ohio Company and Army Lands in the southeast part of present-day Ohio is exhibited, as are the lands settled by the "New Jersey Company," and the "Wabash Company," in the south of present-day Illinois. A note across the Northwest Territory reads "Divided into 10 States by Resolve of Congress in 1784." Upon close examination, one can spot an early account of Indiana, located between Ohio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, in what is now West Virginia.
In the Tennessee Government, we find a large tract of land labeled "Reserved for the N. Carolina Troops." This is dues to the old colonial claim of North Carolina extending to the Mississippi (and in some maps, beyond to the "western sea") and is noteworthy as this is one of the earliest maps to show what would become the state of Tennessee.
Rivers for Transportation. Early Settlements, and Ancestral Lands
Throughout the map, river systems are given prominence due to their importance as the only feasible mean of long-distance travel and settlement. Since this map pre-dates railroads in the United States, rivers were the primary methods of transportation, especially that of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. They also served as convenient borders for states before better methods of land surveying would be utilized later in the 19th century.
Additional details include some of the earliest towns and American settlements, military forts and outposts, recommended places of portage from one river to another, and several tracts of land occupied by Native Americans along with established indigenous communities. Throughout the map, we find tribes like the Chacktaws, Chicksaws, Chreeks, Miami, Chippawas, Outigamis and Utawas, all of which would be forcibly relocated west of the Mississippi in the decades that would follow. This map and others like it are important historical relics concerning the ancestral origins of Native Americans still living within the United States today.
Condition: This map is in B+ condition with old tape on the verso removed and separations properly conserved. The map presents beautifully in its original uncolored state exhibiting a dark plate impression on clean paper.
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